So much Lego news today, but the one I had to post about first was the announcement of Lego Boost. Arriving in August for $160, this is a robotics kit in the same vein as Lego Mindstorms, but rather than being based around Technic and aimed at older kids, this is based around classic Lego System bricks and aimed at kids as young as 7.
The starter kit is called the Creative Toolbox (17101) comes with 840 pieces and three Boost bricks. The first of these is the main hub, which contains a six-axis tilt sensor, two ports for input and output, and a light that can change colour. It’s powered by a bunch of triple-A batteries, and then the other two Boost bricks can plug into it – and those are a colour and distance sensor and a motor.
To control any of that, you’ll need to do some basic programming, using a drag and drop interface on the companion app that you’ll be able to download for iPad and Android tablets. You’ll also need the app to find the building instructions for 5 models, Vernie the Robot, Frankie the Cat, the Guitar 4000, the Multi-Tool Rover 4 and the Autobuilder (which can apparently build other little Lego models).
All of this looks great, and I look forward to introducing it to Noah later this year. Anything that gets kids programming is a great thing. Not because it’s necessarily a direct skill they’re going to use, but simply because working and thinking logically is such an important skill. Anything Lego can do in this area to encourage that kind of thinking is OK by me.
There’s lots of reports about Boost around the web because they showed it off at CES today, but the Engadget report is worth your time, as is taking a look at the official Lego microsite for the product.
Here’s the press release…
Combine the versatile LEGO® building system with advanced technology to boost your creativity with the awesome LEGO BOOST Creative Toolbox. Download the free tablet app to your device and follow the step-by-step instructions to build and code any of the 5 multifunctional models. Experience Vernie the Robot—a moving and talking robot; the M.T.R.4 (Multi-Tooled Rover 4)—a robust, versatile rover with 4 different tool attachments including a spring-loaded shooter; the Guitar4000—a musical instrument with pitch bend and sound effects; Frankie the Cat—an interactive pet that plays, purrs and expresses its mood; or the AutoBuilder—an automated production line that really builds miniature LEGO models! Bring your creations to life with the app’s intuitive, icon-based coding interface and complete an array of exciting activities designed for each model. This set also includes a playmat for use with specific activities, and a LEGO BOOST wall poster!
Take your LEGO® play to the next level with the amazing LEGO BOOST Creative Toolbox. Build and code interactive, motorized robots, models and creations with distance, color and tilt sensor technologies.
- Includes over 840 LEGO® pieces, plus a LEGO Move Hub, Interactive Motor and a Color & Distance Sensor.
- Move Hub features Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connectivity, two encoded motors, activation button, internal tilt sensor and a light.
- Interactive Motor is an encoded motor.
- Color & Distance Sensor detects distance, motion and color, and can also function as a light.
- Check out the cool white, orange and blue color scheme.
- Rotate Vernie’s head to activate its shoulder-mounted spring-loaded shooter.
- Build the M.T.R.4 (Multi-Tooled Rover 4) and try out the different tool and customization attachments to prepare the vehicle for an array of exciting activities.
- Learn how to play a song and rock out with the Guitar4000.
- Look after your own pet with Frankie the Cat. Be sure to feed it the right food—or it might get upset!
- Construct, code and operate the AutoBuilder to produce real miniature LEGO® models.
- Build and code robots and models, and complete exciting activities with the playmat and intuitive LEGO® BOOST app, available for iOS and Android tablet devices.
- Easy-to-use intuitive software with icon-based drag-and-drop coding interface.
- Building instructions for all 5 models are included with the free LEGO® BOOST app.
- This product requires batteries (not included). Please refer to the product packaging for type and quantity.
- Vernie the robot stands over 10” (27cm) tall.
- M.T.R.4 (Multi-Tooled Rover 4) measures over 4” (12cm) high, 9” (23cm) long and 5” (14cm) wide.
- Guitar4000 measures over 1” (5cm) high, 16” (42cm) long and 5” (15cm) wide.
- Frankie the Cat stands over 6” (17cm) tall.
- The AutoBuilder measures over 10” (27cm) high, 7” (19cm) long and 6” (16cm) wide.
Roll on August.